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Mapping the Continuum of Support for Violent Extremism in the United States

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,192,220)

Combatting terrorism and violent extremism is one of the most pressing problems facing the country. Addressing this problem requires a basic knowledge of the prevalence, magnitude, and clustering of support for violent extremism to inform local, state, and federal policymakers as they strategically allocate resources. This information currently does not exist. To fill this gap, the proposed study will develop the National Survey on Support for Violent Extremism to provide valid and reliable estimates that measure support for violent extremism, identify individual-level characteristics that explain such support, and geospatially locate clusters of support at the county level across the country. This research will develop two new and novel datasets from survey data that provide (1) detailed, non–personally identifiable information about support for violent extremism (n ≈ 40,000) and (2) county-level estimates of support for violent extremism paired with variables from already existing datasets (n ≈ 3,143). The proposed project includes four distinct phases. Phase 1, Instrument Development, entails a series of meetings with the research team and an expert panel to develop and validate the survey instruments. Phase 2, Data Collection and Analysis, starts with the administration of the survey through a partnership with an internationally recognized survey management firm to use its national survey panel to receive approximately 40,000 completed survey responses. The survey data will then be analyzed to create estimates of support for violent extremism at multiple levels of analysis and to integrate them into a synthetic population, which allows for estimations at smaller geographic units of analysis, such as counties, that would be too expensive to estimate using survey data alone. The research team will also identify and prepare relevant national datasets that provide county-level information and contextual information. In Phase 3, Synthetic Population Development and Data Visualization, the research team will map the estimates of support for extremist violence onto the synthetic population to spatially visualize clusters of support for violent extremism. These visualizations will be available through an online dashboard that displays results at the county level, with contextual data pulled from national datasets. Phase 4, Outreach and Archiving, focuses on developing and disseminating materials (e.g., webinars, use cases, and research briefs) tailored to the needs of various audiences (e.g., policymakers, community organizations, academics, and representatives of the criminal-legal systems). This research will provide a knowledge base of empirical evidence to assist in the allocation of resources to counter support for violent extremism. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 8, 2023